Christopher Hart ’69 *71 (NTSB)
The U.S. Senate unanimously approved CHRISTOPHER HART ’69 *71 as the new chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) March 12. Hart, a lawyer whose past work includes stints at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration, joined the NTSB in 2009 and has been serving in its top job on an interim basis since April 2014.
Filmmaker ANDREW JARECKI ’85’s latest project, the HBO series The Jinx, made headlines when the documentary’s subject, murder suspect Robert Durst, was arrested on Saturday. Durst apparently confessed to three murders while speaking to himself on microphone during a bathroom break in one of Jarecki’s interview sessions. In an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America, Jarecki recalled the first time that he and his partners listened to the audio, saying it “was so chilling to hear it.” Continue reading
Adm. Michael S. Rogers spoke in Richardson Auditorium March 10 in a rare public appearance for the director of the National Security Agency and the commander of the U.S. Cyber Command.
Adm. Michael S. Rogers (National Security Agency)
Noting that the “rights of the individual and privacy are inherent characteristics of our very self as a nation” while also bearing in mind the increasing number and potency of threats from cyberspace, Rogers cited his desire to begin a conversation with the public about striking a balance between individual rights and the nation’s security.
“I’m interested in a dialogue about how we will work our way through this challenge as a nation,” Rogers said. “What we are comfortable with, and what we are not comfortable with.”
Rogers briefly described the NSA’s chain of command and oversight mechanisms, including its accountability to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the U.S. federal court that oversees judicial warrants for certain kinds of domestic intelligence gathering.
“Every nation has their approach to this. I right now probably have more oversight and more responsibility to people outside my organization than any of my foreign counterparts, in some ways,” Rogers said.
In the question-and-answer portion, Rogers was asked about the NSA’s data-collection practices and its respect for the privacy of U.S. citizens. One exchange was tense. Continue reading
(Brian Wilson/Office of Communications)
Stephanie Chen ’09, above, was floating for credit in her senior year when she took part in a show presented by undergraduates in the Princeton Atelier course on “The Magical: Magic, Comedy, Theater,” funded in part by the David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project. The project, then in its fifth year, had provided more than $1 million in grants to support performances, course development, conferences, and equipment at Princeton. Its work continues today in areas ranging from chemistry to engineering to the performing arts. Continue reading
Rep. Terri Sewell ’86, third from right, took part in the March 7 Selma commemoration with President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
In a piece for the Washington Post, style writer Krissah Thompson followed Rep. TERRI SEWELL ’86, D-Ala., to her hometown of Selma. Sewell and her family and friends reflected on the city’s historic significance and the way Selma has faltered in the years since Sewell graduated as a debate champion from the city’s fully integrated public high school — now effectively resegregated and without the celebrated debate team. “We need to live Selma and know that the assaults of the past are here again,” Sewell said during an address delivered at Selma’s Brown Chapel A.M.E. “Old battles are here again.”
Author PETER HESSLER ’92 wrote in The New Yorker about his experience traveling on a publicity tour in Beijing with the Chinese censor of his books. The story goes on to consider more broadly his experience as an American author writing about China, and the role of his Chinese translators — whose censorship, he says, is a sort of “defensive” censorship intended to circumvent entirely any negative attention from officials. Of recent articles that are critical of American writers who accept manuscript changes so that they can publish in China, Hessler writes, “The articles tend to take a narrowly Western perspective. … This was one reason I went on the tour — I figured that the best way to understand censorship is to spend a week with your censor.”
For 15 years, Sepp Blatter has been president of FIFA, the international governing body of soccer. Now, as FIFA’s reputation continues to spiral downward, Blatter faces a number of potential challengers in the next election. One of them is Prince ALI BIN AL HUSSEIN ’99 of Jordan. In an interview with The New York Times, Prince Ali called for more transparency, more collaborative decision-making, and more financial accountability to FIFA’s member nations. Continue reading
Paul Simon performs at Richardson Auditorium March 3. (Denise Applewhite/Office of Communications)
Singer and songwriter Paul Simon was more interested in baseball than music as a child, he told an audience of Princeton students, faculty, and staff in a conversation with creative writing professor Paul Muldoon in Richardson Auditorium March 3.
Simon, who first emerged on the music scene as a teenager as part of the duo Simon and Garfunkel, discussed the purpose of art and how he gets ideas for his lyrics, and closed the event by singing “The Sound of Silence.” He also played a recording of a new song, “The Insomniac’s Lullaby.” The event opened with a cappella group the Nassoons singing several of Simon’s songs.
Creating art “is about emotions, trying to reach other people. It’s about art as beauty,” Simon said. Discussing whether one should donate money to help cure a disease or fund a museum, Simon explained the importance of art for him: “If we don’t acknowledge the highest part of our humanity, it’s not a full picture. It’s not who we are. It doesn’t examine joy enough. That’s the privilege of being a human being.” Continue reading
Princeton Dean Valerie Smith will be Swarthmore’s next president. (Brian Wilson/Office of Communications)
Dean of the College VALERIE SMITH was named the 15th president of Swarthmore College on Feb. 21. She will be Swarthmore’s first African American president, as well as its second female president. At Princeton, Smith was also the founding director of the Center for American Studies and is currently the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature and a professor of English and African American Studies. She will begin her duties at Swarthmore on July 1. In a Philadephia Inquirer interview, Gil Kemp, chair of Swarthmore’s board of trustees, said of Smith, “I think this is a marvelous fit … Her awareness of our distinctive competence, focus on academic rigor, commitment to the common good — it’s a marvelous confluence.”
In an op-ed for CNN.com, New America Foundation Strategist and Senior Fellow PETER W. SINGER ’97 writes about the rise of the robot in modern warfare. As robots become increasingly more automated, he explains, debates over their place in battle have become more complicated. He concludes, however, that “one thing is clear: Like the present, the future of war will be robotic.”
Former Tennessee senator BILL FRIST ’74 and former Georgia representative JIM MARSHALL ’72 penned a Washington Post op-ed about their suggested reforms to the Veterans Health Administration. Their piece coincided with the release of a report by the Fixing Veterans Health Care task force, of which Frist and Marshall are co-chairs. Continue reading